If it occurs off-road and involves racing, you can bet professional rider of anything two-wheels, Crystal Anthony, will be on the start line. Recently, we caught Crystal in action at the Sea Otter Classic, her first time attending North America's premier cycling festival. She didn't just show up to spectate though, racing three days in a row and powering her way into the top-15 of the women's pro field of the enduro on Thursday, the short track mountain bike race on Friday and followed that up with a top-20 at Saturday's hotly contested cross-country race. Clearly she was just warming up her legs the first three races of the event, as she took the win Saturday afternoon in the pro cyclocross race snaking around the historic Laguna Seca Raceway infield.
Although Crystal focuses much of summer and fall seasons on cyclocross and long-distance mountain biking, she's recently started dabbling in enduro racing, and has even raced everything from marathons to triathlons and mountain bike stage races around the world. When she's not training, Crystal runs her own coaching business from her home in Newbury Park, California.
"I love sharing my passion for endurance sports with others and using my experiences racing across the US and abroad to help others reach their goals," the newest Topical Edge Ambassador said in a recent interview with us where we learned more about her Sea Otter experience, her plans for the heart of the mountain biking season ahead and more.
What did you think of your first Sea Otter Experience?
Sea Otter has always been on my radar, but I was a full-time middle school teacher back in Massachusetts until last year, so I was never able to take the time off to go out to California. It's amazing how many events go on in one week, and the energy and vibe of so many people coming together is really positive. I was fortunate to travel with the Giant & LIV squads who are veterans of the event, and they were a big help navigating all the logistics. Being able to race an enduro, a short track, a cross country, and a cyclocross event all in the same place was really fun.
It sounds like you have quite the racing skill set - was the the plan coming into the weekend to race all four events or did it just happen?
Short track and cross country were definitely on the initial plan as I do a lot of mountain bike racing in the spring and summer. Enduro is a totally new venture for me! Descending was initially my weakness as a cyclist, so I've been working on those skills. My boyfriend used to race enduro so he's encouraged me to try it out. This was only my second one ever, but I heard it was a nice combo of trails: the downhill track, two stages that were more cross-country-like with pedaling and the dual slalom track. Then, when I realized the cyclocross race would also fit in the schedule, of course I had to sign up for that!
What is your first bike racing memory and why does it still stick in your head today?
One of my earliest racing memories was jumping into a local cyclocross race back in maybe 2008. At the time, I was training full time for the marathon (running!) and thought I was pretty invincible when it came to "endurance" events. I got dropped handily within the first few hundred yards. That hooked me right away because it was very clear that there was a whole lot more to cyclocross racing than met the eye. It was a couple more years before I decided to focus on cyclocross racing, but I've loved it ever since - there's always a new challenge, no course or race is ever the same twice because conditions are always changing, and it requires the full gamut from fitness to tactics and bike handling skills. Growing up with brothers who were very successful cyclocross racers of course got me into the sport as well. We would always enjoy adventuring together on bikes and pushing each other.
Tell us a bit more about your experience using PR Lotion: did you use it everyday, between events, before and after at Sea Otter?
I used PR Lotion before every event. Before the enduro on Thursday, I used one application on my legs and arms since you can use your upper body a lot with descending. Before the short track on Friday, I also used it before the race - about an hour and a half before since I find it is most effective after an hour or two. On Saturday, I used two applications before the cross country race - once about an hour and a half out, and one about a half hour out. Then I used it right after the cross country race, and before my cyclocross event later in the afternoon. I was really happy with how my legs held up over the four races in three days.
How has PR Lotion become a part of your routine?
I use PR lotion before my hard training rides and before all race events and as a cyclocross athlete in the fall and winter. I have to be able to handle acceleration after acceleration during a race, and then recover and handle the same efforts the following day. PR Lotion is a huge asset for staying strong for the duration of a race, and for coming back strong the following day too. For the marathon-distance mountain bike racing that I do in the spring and summer, PR lotion helps me maintain a consistent hard effort for races that are 4+ hours long.
Crystal isn't one to rest on her laurels - not long after our conversation she was en route to Prescott, Arizona to tackle the Whiskey 50, where she took 8th in the pro criterium and followed that up with a 10th place finish in a world class field during the 50 miler. Its safe to say plenty of PR Lotion was used to keep her legs feeling fresh after 6 races in 11 days.
Up next, Crystal will be traveling to Arkadelphia, Arkansas for USA Cycling's Mountain Bike Marathon Nationals and then lining up at the Grand Junction Off-Road in Colorado May 18-20th, where she'll look to improve upon her Whiskey 50 results and slide onto the podium.
Follow along with all of Crystal's adventures racing across the country on her extensive quiver of bikes on Instagram @crystaljanthony.